If you loved reading Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books as a kid but have outgrown their puerile plots and dog-eared, unrepentantly analog format, take heart: A newly launched system called Myndplay is a next-gen video version of the genre for adults. “The viewer chooses who lives or dies, whether the good guy or the bad guy wins or whether the hero makes that all-important save,” Mohammed Azam, Myndplay’s managing director, told New Scientist. Instead of relying on old-fashioned reading, MyndPlay lets you guide the story using mind-reading, via a special headset that records and analyzes your brainwaves. Now you can sit back in your armchair, slap on the headset, and use your mind to direct the action on the screen in front of you. (No word yet if there’s a mind-powered equivalent of keeping a finger on the page you came from, so you can flip back to it if you don’t like how things turn out.)
After a long search, you’ve found your Person of Interest—and he’s making it abundantly clear that, while you were hoping for a civilized chat back at the station, he makes it clear he doesn’t like the ambiance there. You don’t want to shoot, you’re too far away to use your Taser, and it’s not like you walk around with a spare tear gas canister hanging from your belt. What’s a law enforcement officer to do?
That’s where the StunRay comes in. A non-lethal, spotlight-like weapon, this new device is designed to disorient its targets with by overloading their neural circuitry with a burst of high-intensity light. Genesis Illumination, which makes the device, patented it in January. (You can see the device in action in this video put out by Genesis.)
We learned watching Ghostbusters that for busting ghosts, nothing beats a well-placed zap of protons from a backpack-turned-positron collider. Now, researchers at Harvard University are working on a technique that could let future firefighters do their job (sort of) the same way, using an electric beam—generated by a portable amplifier, which might even fit in a backpack—to put out the flames.
The researchers’ early-stage prototype consists of a 600-watt amplifier hooked up to a electric beam-shooting wand, according to their presentation at the American Chemical Society meeting earlier this week. In tests, they were able to quickly zap out flames over a foot high.